Saturday, January 31, 2009

jetty jettisoned

Isn't the Post marvellous? The paper (which covers Perth's Golden Triangle) is strong on its Rotto coverage. Today is no different: news of the impending doom of the hotel jetty.

'The hotel jetty at Rottnest will soon be no more,' the Post's exclusive begins.

'The Rottnest Island Authority says it's too old and unsafe. The authority called for tenders to demolish the jetty, which is in front of the Quokka Arms Hotel in Thomson Bay, and build a new one.'

The RIA's Bruce Simpson boats can't tie up against it and the engineer decided to get a new one.

It seems likely the jetty was built in the 1950s. The new version will be steel-framed and timber-decked, with berths for six boats, pedestrian lighting, hand rails and a power supply.

Rotto Bloggo's father-in-law is very handy: perhaps he should put in a bid.

When the jetty was last open bookings were $23 a night.

'Tourism WA would not release a photo of the jetty to accompany this report,' the Post said.

Good thing we have this artistic version of the structure.

In other Rottnest news, check out Fremantlebiz's writing on the forgotten cricket pitch on the beautiful island - sensational stuff.

Friday, January 30, 2009

rotto crime wave

More than five per cent of Rottnest homes were broken in to during the last financial year.

The beautiful island is worse for breaks-ins than Scarborough, Gosnells, Fremantle and Cannington.

Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout Willis? It is so, according to this strange blog, which doesn’t list the source for the data.

Rotto Bloggo is sceptical. The place isn’t immune to crime, to be sure (remember that illegal beach drinking?) but are that many villas and bungalows violated?

Also puzzling is this blog: “Over the Christmas break I managed to get across to Rottnest for a day and take a couple of photos.”

But there aren’t any photos.

Much more satisfying and informative was this Beatrice Thomas story in The West this week on the woes of the planned luxury hotel.

‘The planned 4½-star, 120-room complex overlooking Longreach Bay has been touted as the island’s most sumptuous accommodation but has been bogged down with contractual issues. It culminated in claims last month by the Rottnest Society and a prominent developer that the project would be scrapped because of the economic downturn.’

We could have a decision on whether the hotel is a goer today.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

clean it up

Why not pop across to the beautiful island tomorrow and take out the trash?

We see the Clean Up Australia Day campaign has a (very small) presence on Rottnest: you're invited to gather at Longreach, near the villas, at 9am for an hour's rubbish removal.

Jennie Anderton is the contact: 0434 825 906. According to the site she's the only volunteer so far. Give her a hand!

You''ll recall there was some unwelcome fireworks action on Rotto two years ago: flares from boat(s) off Longreach "ignited the eastern end of Fays Bay at around 9.45 p.m.".

“It was very fortunate that the wind was blowing in a South/South Easterly direction as sparks blown inland could have ignited the whole Island”, an RIA bugle said the day after.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

snifters past

Rotto Bloggo was thrilled to sneak the word "snifter" into a news story this week.

In a front-page effort on the Post, there was this sentence: 'But that doesn't mean mums and dads enjoying a quiet snifter of semillion sauvignon blanc won't be spoken to by the boys and girls in blue.'

The story was about the usual warnings about imbibing at the Australia Day fireworks on the mainland. Rotto Bloggo went to the first fireworks - 1988, if we remember right - and the most persistent memory is of a bloke being sick while leaning out of a car window in the post-event massive traffic jam.

Drinking in public is against the law. Will police target everybody? How is this relevant to the beautiful island?

We saw some illegal public drinking on Geordie Bay on New Year's Eve 2006. We were on our plush beachfront balcony at 8pm, waiting for the glorious sunset (love that daylight saving). Two female senior citizens wandered onto the sand, each with a glass of something cool and white. They were a million miles from hooliganism and anti-social behaviour.

But - such a flagrant transgression could not go unchecked. A fat rent-a-cop wobbled onto the beach, yelling and gesticulating. He wasn't pleased. The women, cowed, left the beach. We yelled abuse at the fattyboomba from our balcony, but to no avail.

Friday, January 23, 2009

hungry for rotto

Rotto is the place to get in shape for a figure competition.

We know this because Jehanne Newby is starving herself and doing lots of walking so she can get down to 53kg. But even people in training for hard-body heaven need to relax...

'Had a sweet time in Rottnest with my gf Kath - it was a stinker day back in perth - 40deg or something - so out on the island it was cooler and just perfect for us. We swam, snorkelled, ate, lay in the sun and enjoyed our jet ride home! I am planning on an overnighter trip to Rottnest sometime soon - stay in one of the villas on the beach front and ride around the island (its about 25km round trip I think) to some cool little secluded snorkel spots - might wait for the kiddies to all go back to school though.'

Her blog post has a link to some Rotto pics on her Facebook site.

What a good idea (staying in a villa). It's only about four months until Rotto Bloggo is scheduled to be on the beautiful island...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

jumbo to rotto

"Are they flying jumbos to Rotto these days?"

No they are not. But this question was posed today on the incomparable The Worst of Perth. We loved it because it's a media anecdote that works in a Rotto mention.

Adrian related the tale of how someone tried to persuade him to work for the (long-vanished) Western Mail more than 20 years ago...

I walked into the newly built offices (up the road from Newspaper house, where the West Oz eventually took up residence I understand) and found Andre standing in the middle of this huge empty void.

I remember challenging him whether the damn thing would ever get off the ground, and he inveigled that I look around.

“Just look at this place, if we don’t t go daily and keep running a Sunday it would be like taking a jumbo jet to Rottnest,” he exclaimed.

Then, as now, there was a lot of inveigling going on.

In other Rottnest news, we saw this account of the beautiful island on a site called IslandSity (motto: 'Digging out all the islands of the world'). Sample copy:

Where the moist salty beach sand seems tattooed on your toes, and your hair takes on a lived in look. But don’t worry about your ‘do’, because Rottnest Island is just not a hairdryer kind of place.

Harmless enough. But it rang a faint bell...we surfed over to and - my goodness! - saw this on their sailing marina profile:

Where the moist salty beach sand seems tattooed on your toes, and your hair takes on a lived in look. But don't worry about your 'do', because Rottnest Island is just not a hairdryer kind of place.

Read either: they're both equally positive about Rotto.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

bends over

That media release we slagged off recently about The Doctor got some traction in places: see this recycled effort in the Byron Shire Echo for more converging paddlers, elite shaping and pure downwind.

It's enough to drive you 'round the bends.

Meanwhile...the winner of The Doctor was Clint Robinson, 36, a five-time Olympian who led from the start. See this report for deets and quotes.

People have been asking about those Rottnest Island jeans. I've never seen them here. That's the point of shopping on Teh Intertubes!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

rottnest jeans

“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”

Thank you Mr Wilde. If Oscar was around today we’re certain he would don Rottnest Island Jeans from RM Williams.

We liked this photo in the W magazine yesterday, in The West Australian. Actually there was a lot to like in W…but this photo was the best visual offering.

It’s by award-winning photographer Astrid Volzke, and shows Emily (unknown number of awards) sporting summer gear somewhere on Rotto. Could be Thomson Bay.

Those beaded sleeves cost something like $1400, and the swimmers are “price on application”.

Friday, January 16, 2009

sexy sinecure

It works out at more than $3000 per blog post.

Surely you've seen stories about Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays wanting to hire someone to live there for six months? Here's one in the New York Times ('Temp Job in Paradise').

Some reports say the job's website is crashing 'cos of the interest:
certainly we haven't been able to see the conditions of the gig. But if you're getting $150,000 and you only have to blog once a week, it's a sexy sinecure.

We're disappointed to report to you Rottnest is not considering a similar stunt. This is unfortunate and short-sighted. Let's compare Hamilton Island with our own jewel...

FACT: Hamilton resembles a deformed Mickey Mouse-style head, while ours looks like a graceful drumstick.

FACT: Hamilton is plagued by putt-putting and farting golf buggies, whereas WA's "summer holiday playground" has non-polluting bikes.

FACT: Hamilton is owned by a crowd called the Oatley family: Rotto is by the people, for the people (or is supposed to be, at least).

FACT: "Hamilton Island has a collection of wet drowned mountains", according to Wikipedia, while the very same source says our island is a "well-maintained wildlife preserve".

FACT: The name of the place in Queensland makes one think of a over-tanned superannuated movie star and/or an over-muscled Saturn-winning movie star terrified of the Terminator, while Rottnest makes one think of...heaven.

OK: clearly we don't need a $150K blogger on Rottnest, as the beautiful island doesn't need it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

like a drumstick

A bloke called Andrew Bain is the latest to extol the virtues of the beautiful island.

Andrew's effort - here in The Age - is better than the usual. It's the first description we've seen of quokkas being Lilliputian. Rotto is "drumstick-shaped". Little Salmon Bay is a "jewel".

And he likes a board game: "The island gift shop even sells a "Rottnest Island Cycle" board game, celebrating the island's reputation as a virtual velodrome in the sea."

It's illustrated with a Lonely Planet pic of Longreach Bay.

Strangely-shaped drumstick. Let's hope he got to Brett Heady's Family Fun Centre as well.

We were talking today with a copper who was on Rotto for many years. He said the biggest problem are mobile phones. Before mobiles, people had to schlep to a phone box to report things. But now if there's a loud party next door they can call from the safety of their villa. He didn't appreciate the instant communication.

Monday, January 12, 2009


If not for the tonnage of the gormless crew...this good ship was spotted going
down to the Locker on New Year's Eve.

It will soon be added to this Wikipedia list of shipwrecks around Rottnest.

'This same Davy Jones, according to sailors, is the fiend that presides over all the evil spirits of the deep, and is often seen in various shapes, perching among the rigging on the eve of hurricanes:, ship-wrecks, and other disasters to which sea-faring life is exposed, warning the devoted wretch of death and woe.' (Tobias Smollett, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle)

Sail across to the mainland to also see this frightening image being given The Worst of Perth treatment.

Many thanks to Stephen N. for the photo.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

rottnest romance #29

Here we go: the exciting denouement of Chapter Three in Rottnest Romance, the only Bills and Moon novel set on WA's "summer holiday playground".

Will Nick pull Larissa (safely back to Thomson Bay)? Will he whip out his monkey wrench back at her place, so he can fix her cotter pin? What about his girfriend and/or secretary Ashleigh Kane: will she be waiting at Larissa's place, ready to brain her with a stale bakery baguette?

It all rushes to a climax today on Rotto Bloggo. After this there are only seven chapters to go!


Another incline loomed before them. She could feel his strength as it was transmitted through the taut rope. Again his legs pumped up and down, and again she nervously concentrated on steering and ensuring she didn’t stare at his strong legs for too long.

At last they glided down a gently-sloping hill, with salt lakes on either side of the road ahead of them. They were nearly there. She was impressed at his stamina – they hadn’t stopped since she had careered off the road earlier.

She called out in an encouraging tone. “Not much further to go now!”

“That’s good to hear,” he replied in a voice that sounded a bit winded. As strong as he seemed, he obviously wasn’t quite Superman, she thought.

As they came into the settlement she felt rather regal as she was towed along. The curious looks from various pedestrians didn’t bother as much this time.

Suddenly he raised his arms and called out. “Ashleigh!” He put on his brakes, and Larissa hurriedly did the same.

Ashleigh Kane walked over to them. She had a tote bag on her shoulder, and zinc cream on her nose.

“How was the beach?” Nick asked.

“What is going on?” she asked.

“Larissa had a spot of trouble with her bike, so I towed her back,” he explained.

“Oh. Why did you have to do that?”

“Ashleigh!” he said, rather sternly.

Larissa felt awkward. It must look a bit suspicious, she supposed – certainly if she was Nick’s girlfriend she would feel inclined to ask a few questions.

“Sorry,” Ashleigh muttered, “it didn’t mean to come out like that. Are you coming back to the Lodge soon, Nick?”

“Yes,” he replied, “I’ll just take Larissa to her cottage…”

She was hastily getting off her bike. “No need for that,” she piped up, rather breathlessly, “I can walk the rest of the way.”

She didn’t want to cause any trouble between them.

He smiled at her. “OK,” he said. “I’m pretty bushed anyway.” He bent down and untied the rope between their bikes.

“I’m not surprised, after all your huffing and puffing over me.” She winced – it sounded terrible, and might cause Ashleigh to be even more suspicious of her. She noticed the other woman looking at her dubiously – it was time to beat a retreat to her own door.

“Thanks very much, Nick – see you both later,” she said, and started wheeling her bike rapidly away from them. She could feel Ashleigh’s eyes on her back as she walked, and gave a small shiver despite the hot sun.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

converging paddlers

Need to be amused, made to feel superior, and learn something at the same time? Then you’ve made a wise choice in visiting Rotto Bloggo this weekend.

We’ve intercepted a media release that merits close examination. It’s about an event called The Doctor, a paddling race from Rottnest to Scarborough. We hadn’t heard of it before – but we admit we’re sometimes pretty gormless – but the associated website says this is the fifth year of The Doctor’s incarnation.

The first breathless par: ‘Olympic kayak hopeful Reece Baker will be on home waters next week when the planet’s best take their shot at World Cup glory in the richest ocean paddling race in Australia on January 17.’

The planet’s best? Should we quibble about World Cup: is a qualifier needed, as there are several?

‘With more than $30,000 on offer ‘The Doctor’, as the 23 kilometre marathon downwind paddle from Rottnest Island to the Scarborough Beach Auditorium is known, will see paddlers from all over the world converge on the Western Australian capital to take on Baker, former local Ben Allen and the country’s best open water paddlers including Tim Jacobs, Murray Stewart, Jeremy Cotter and Caine Eckstein.’

Paddlers converging! Will there be a wet whacking sound, when they get to close to each other, and their paddles start banging together? But OK.

‘Australia’s elite will shape against a host of international stars including legendary South African and reigning World Series champion Oscar Chalupsky, fellow leading South Africans Dawid Mocke and Hank McGregor, the 2008 champion from the famous Molokai to Oahu race, Tahitian Lewis Laughlin and paddlers from New Zealand, Hawaii, Asia and Europe.’

The elite will shape? Stars, legendary and famous paddlers…and then some from other countries, too.

‘Holmes will stage her own international battle with South African Olympian Michelle Eray and New Zealand star Katie Pocock both confirmed starters.’

Just a tic. Who, pray tell, is Holmes? Can’t be John Holmes. An international battle…like World War II, except not with tanks? And there’s no law that says you can’t use commas in successive pars.

‘The event, the brainchild of Perth born nine-time Molokai to Oahu winner Dean Gardiner and fellow WA paddling icon Ash Nesbitt, is one of only four 4star events in the surf ski world series and also features categories for outrigger canoes and the growing discipline of stand up surfboard paddling.’

Perth-born, please. The successive fours are clumsy. But ‘growing discipline’?

‘The outrigger canoe field will be headed by world number one Hawaiian Karel Tresnak, while the arduous stand up surfboard paddling race will feature world renowned Western Australian big wave surfers Damon Eastough and Courtenay Gray. Eastough has a cult following in the surfing industry and is a former winner of the Australian Oakley Big Wave contest.’

Cult following. Damon will be described as ‘mercurial’ next. All these things sound pretty arduous to me. Do you think Courtenay is a future winner of the AOBW?

‘Gardiner has been at the top of ocean paddling both as a competitor and a race promoter and organiser for almost two decades and the veteran believes ‘The Doctor’, now in its fifth year, is the world’s best pure downwind race.’

OK. What are the odds there’s a quote from the man himself coming up expanding on the purity and fat-freeness of The Doctor?

“This event has developed into the most competitive and coveted downwind race on the international ocean paddling calendar,” Gardiner said.

Why, pray tell, is it the most competitive?

“The fact it is a crossing, from Rottnest to the mainland, with just the paddlers and the open ocean makes it such a pure test of the paddler and the elements.

I’m not very nautical or sporty. But apart from the ocean and the paddlers, what else would there be?

“We have the best paddlers in the world coming to Western Australia’s summer playground and I know from talking to the overseas guys they are looking forward to taking on Australia’s best.”

WA’s summer playground! And it has 63 bays and is 4.5km at its widest point!

‘The event will be followed up by a 15km two person team relay from Fremantle to City Beach the next day, Sunday January 18.’

Just followed is fine, thank you. Or should we have followed down? Or followed through?

‘Both races are not just for the elite either with the event open to paddlers of all levels. Entries and event information can be found at’

Either or. Or either. Are they desperate for entries?

I know it’s the PR person’s job to convey information to the media, and try and whip up an air of excitement about these things. But do they have to sound like a tired sports broadcaster going through the motions and fumbling with cliché?

And can we please spell Thomson Bay and kilometre correctly? (see the website for the error).

Friday, January 09, 2009

rottnest romance #28

A climax is approaching: the end of Chapter Three in Rottnest Romance, the only Bills and Moon novel set on the beautiful island. This is the penultimate 500-word instalment: if I blog about something else tomorrow we could read the exciting suspenseful thrilling engaging bit on Sunday.

There's been a request for a description of Larissa's legs, instead of Nick's. No can do. Do women want to read about shapely female gams in a romance novel? I think not. Will Nick be naked by the time they get back to Thomson Bay? Will Larissa have to blow air into his tyres? Stay tuned...

“How are you going – alright?” he called out as they reached the crest of the hill.

She gave a start, and quickly moved her eyes from his lower body. He hadn’t been looking back, though. “I’m fine,” she called in return. “Do stop if you want a rest, Nick.”

“We just started,” he said, eyes on the road ahead.

I know that, she thought crossly – it was just a suggestion.

He pressed on, past the track to Radar Reef. Again, irresistibly, her attention returned to the sight of his energetic body hard at work. The businessmen she had met before hadn’t been in as good shape as he was, she reflected. They had mostly been overweight and balding – they certainly hadn’t looked like him.

Another incline stretched before them, and he responded to the challenge with renewed vigour. Again he thrust his legs down with each push as he rose out of his seat. Again, her attention became transfixed at his fluid motions. His legs had a nice colour to them as well, she noticed…how did he get to spend so much time in the sun, with his way of life…?

Suddenly she realised she was about to veer off the surface of the road. She gave a yelp as her tyres rattled on the rough sand by the side of the road. They both came to halt as Nick applied his brakes.

Putting one foot on the ground, he twisted his body and looked back. “What’s going on? What did you do that for?”

“Sorry!” She felt like a complete idiot. Why hadn’t she been paying attention to her steering? He must think she was hopeless. “I, er, was looking at the bushes. There was something moving in there.”

“Where?” He peered in the direction in which she vaguely pointed.

“It’s gone now – probably just a bird or a quokka or something,” she said. What a feeble excuse, she thought nervously – what could he be thinking? “Sorry about that – shell we continue?”

He glanced at her, obviously unconvinced by her excuse. Then he turned around and, with both feet on the pedals, set off again.

She promised herself she would concentrate on keeping the bike on the road instead of staring at his body. It wasn’t as if it was asking the impossible.

For the next half-hour she managed to steer her bike in an adequate fashion, while stealing occasional glances at the passing flora. Gradually the lighthouse slipped by, this time on her left side. At one stage, when they were coasting down a hil, Nick rummaged in the bag on his handlebars and brought out his water bottle. With one hand casually guiding the bike he took a long draught of water.

As he did she noticed dark patches of perspiration were appearing on his shirt. By the time they reached Thomson Bay he would be dripping wet. She wasn’t going to suggest he take off his shirt, though, or anything like that – certainly not. It would probably provoke a sly comment or two from him, and she didn’t want that.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

sharks in the water

Man oh man…how much newsprint and airtime is going to be expended between now and the end of the Rotto Channel Swim on sharks, shark sightings and shark fear?

A lot. The poor old sharks. One hand a story about urging tough laws for people who slaughter them up north, and on the other loathing over them daring to dip a fin in Gage Roads (can’t locate link for that one).

‘there's many ways to die, the game is to survive,
come someone from behind, he'll eat you up alive.’

Of course we’ve been here before: it’s nothing new. See Robert Drewe, The Shark Net, for his recollection of his shark obsession…

“…it had to be that sharks were buried deep in my collective unconscious…clearly some of us were born with it – like the chicken’s instinct for the shadow of the hawk. It was amazing what I saw in the back-froth of a snapping wave, in the darker patchwork of weed and reef. Was that surge just a diving shag? Was the shadow really a passing cloud? Or the first and last hint of the white pointer’s charge? This, I thought, was obviously the underlying anxiety of my life.”

Thursday, January 01, 2009

rottnest romance #27

Happy New Year! Two years ago we enjoyed a NY on Rotto: it was sublime. As a 2009 treat, enjoy the next 500 words of the only Bills and Moon novel set on the beautiful island, Rottnest Romance. Larissa's bike is buggered, but beastly businessman Nick is browbeating her to do...what? Free Minties for all who make it through to the end of this (third)chapter of what is turning out to be a fiction that rivals Cloudstreet, Upsurge and To The Islands.

“I’ll tow you back. I’ll just fetch my bike.”

She was dumbstruck. Tow her – all the way back? It was out of the question.

“Really, Nick, that’s not necessary. I’d rather wait…”

But he wasn’t listening. He was looking around, and then strode over to the edge of the road and picked something up. It was a longish piece of rope.

Aghast, she took in his busy activity, as he tied one end of the rope to her handlebars. When he began to fix the other end to hi seat she realised he was serious. She began to protest again.

“Look, Nick, you can’t tow me all the way back.”

“Why not?” he asked as he tested the rope.

“Well…it’s too far. And I’m too heavy.”

He flicked a quick glance up and down her body. “I wouldn’t agree with that,” he remarked with a twinkle in his eye.

“It’s ridiculous…it’s too much to ask.”

“No-one’s asking anyone: I’m just doing it.” He straightened up, ready to get on his bike. “I only have to pull you up the hills. Don’t you think I’m capable of doing it?”

She glared at him. “That’s not the point – it’s not as if it’s some sort of endurance test…”

“Oh, do stop gabbling , Larissa. Now remember: if I brake, that means you brake as well. I don’t want you cannoning into me. On you get.”

Stung by his curt instructions, she got on her bike. He began pedaling, the rope between them tensed and with a start she was in motion.

Their rather unusual mode of departure aroused some merriment, she noted rather sourly. Ducking her head, she decided not to return the stares and pointing of several amused onlookers making their way up from the beach.

After a few moments they were thankfully out of sight. As they coasted down the first hill she called out at his broad back. “What were you going to use if you hadn’t found the rope?”

“Our belts,” he shouted back without turning around.

How resourceful, she reflected.

It was a rather peculiar sensation, being in motion on a bike without having to use any effort to propel it. Rather agreeable, actually, she realised. She supposed she should just sit back and enjoy the passing view.

They came to the first incline. As they started to go uphill he began to pedal energetically. He stood up as his legs moved up and down, driving more energy into his wheels. She suddenly lost interest in the gully of wildflowers on her left, and instead looked at his muscular legs as they pumped the pedals. Watching them, she couldn’t actually decide if they were muscular. No: they were both lean and muscular. She could certainly see some muscles – they flashed into prominence as his legs bent and straightened, bent and straightened…

Her gaze moved upward, to his faded, weather-beaten blue shorts. They weren’t moving as much – they just seemed to be sort of moving from side to side, ever so slightly. His rear seemed to be as lean and well-shaped as his legs…